State Birds That Should Be

John Oliver has once said that there are two things that American states are bad at: civil rights and state birds. Of course, anyone who’s studied African American history would understand the former, especially since the states’ lousiness to utter lack of interest in protecting civil rights was the driving reason in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Of course, I’ve written a few posts explaining why that is (such as one on the Charleston shooting and the Confederate Flag). However, I haven’t brushed on the other subject like state birds. Now I know it’s not nearly important but we have to understand that while the Founding Fathers were absolutely right to name the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, our states have been absolutely horrible in selecting a bird that best represents them. I mean there are several states with the same one like the Northern Mockingbird, the Northern Cardinal, the Eastern Bluebird, the Eastern Goldfinch, the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Western Meadowlark, the Mountain Bluebird, and the American Robin as well as others with birds that don’t seem to really represent them. Some aren’t even very unique. For instance, as a native and lifelong resident in Pennsylvania, I have never seen a Ruffed Grouse. I have seen a Great Blue Heron, a seagull, a Norther Harrier, a Bufflehead, and even a Pilated Woodpecker in my area. But I have never seen a freaking Ruffed Grouse in Pennsylvania in all of my freaking life. Not a single one. Maybe the wild turkey might not be a great national symbol but it would’ve been a way better state bird for Pennsylvania than the Ruffed Grouse. At least I’ve seen wild turkeys from my neck of the woods. Nevertheless, we have 50 states in the US as well as hundreds of native birds in our country to choose from. It’s not like several states have to pick the same one. Here I list my opinion for what I think should be the state bird for each of the 50 states of the United States of America.

  1. Alabama
While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama's association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama’s association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

Official State Bird: Northern Flicker (Yellowhammer)

Why It Sucks: For one, this bird was chosen with its association to Confederate soldiers, which may be something Alabama may take pride in. However, I’m sure this bird’s association with Confederacy won’t sit well with the state’s minority populations. Also, there’s not a lot of flickers in Alabama anyway.

Best Candidate: Northern Mockingbird

Why: Sure I know it’s a common and boring bird. But Alabama was a major center of the American Civil Rights Movement as well as home to Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, a book closely identified with it. Besides, the Civil Rights Movement was a major event that put Alabama on the map and what most people identify this state with. Still, if the Northern Mockingbird has to be a state bird, then it should be in Alabama.

Other Options: Blue Jay, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove, Brown Pelican, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-Cockated Woodpecker

  1. Alaska
Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it's even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it’s even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Official State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan

Why It Sucks: It’s a very common bird in Alaska, which is home to 69 species of birds that only breed there. It’s also not a bird most people imagine when they think about Alaska. Also, the name is dumb.

Best Candidate: Snowy Owl

Why: Well, I might be biased since Harry Potter owned one named Hedwig. However, this is possibly one of the birds someone imagines when they think about Alaska. This is a majestic, arctic bird of prey, which has all the makings of a truly great state bird that Alaska can be proud of.

Other Options: Horned Puffin, Gyrfalcon, Arctic Tern, Arctic Loon, Pacific Loon, Aleutian Tern, Little Auk, Great Gray Owl, Glaucous Gull, America Tree Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Emperor Goose, Wood Duck, American Widgeon, Bufflehead, Harlequin Duck, Smew, Steller’s Eider, King Eider, Horned Grebe, Red-Necked Grebe, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Boreal Owl, Rough-Legged Hawk, Merlin, Greater Scaup, Sandhill Crane, Semipalmated Plover, American Golden Plover, Solitary Sandpiper

  1. Arizona
While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

Official State Bird: Cactus Wren

Why It Sucks: Not bad, Arizona. After all this is a desert state and the Cactus Wren is a desert bird. However, I’m not sure if it’s unique enough since Arizona isn’t the only desert state.

Best Candidate: Gila Woodpecker

Why: Well, they’re very adaptable birds in the Sonoran Desert and are associated with Saguaro cactus and Mesquite. Besides, while the Cactus Wren looks boring, the Gila Woodpecker has neat zebra wings. Not to mention, it has a bigger range than the Cactus Wren.

Other Options: Anna’s Hummingbird, California Condor, Yellow Junco, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Magnificent Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Steller’s Jay, Gilded Flicker, Phainopepla, Painted Whitestart, Bullock’s Oriole, Ferruginous Hawk, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Mexican Jay, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Gray Hawk, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Red-Faced Warbler, Gambel’s Quail

  1. Arkansas
The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: Because it’s the state bird of 5 states and Arkansas has one of the worst reasons to claim it.

Best Candidate: Pileated Woodpecker

Why: Now this is possibly the largest woodpecker in North America (if the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is extinct by this point). Not to mention, its large size gives it a strong unmistakable presence. It’s also very adaptable in forest and other environments unlike the Ivory-Billed. Still, this is a very awesome and unique American bird.

Other Options: Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Chipping Sparrow, Easter Towhee, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, American Crow, Eastern Whippoorwill, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Painted Bunting

  1. California
Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it's been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It's also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it’s been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It’s also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Official State Bird: California Quail

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique bird for California. But it’s been misplaced in a lot of movies that some people think it lives almost anywhere (thanks to Disney, no doubt). Also, it’s a game bird and not one that embodies the spirit of the state.

Best Candidate: California Condor

Why: Because this scavenging vulture is the largest land birds of North America as well as one of the longest living. Not to mention, the state managed to have a successful breeding program and helped reintroduce them in the wild. It’s also a significant bird to California Native American tribes as well as plays an important role in several of their myths. It’s not an attractive bird but it’s a remarkable bird nevertheless.

Other Options: Western Gull, California Gull, Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Scrub Jay, Pacific Loon, Laysan Albatross, Red-Billed Tropicbird, California Thrasher, Yellow-Billed Magpie, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Violet-Green Swallow, Cassin’s Kingbird, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Phainopepla, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lazuli Bunting, Tufted Duck, Clark’s Grebe, Black Storm Petrel, Brandt’s Cormorant, California Towhee, White-Tailed Kite, Flammulated Owl, Spotted Owl, Black Phoebe, American Dipper, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Acorn Woodpecker, California Least Tern, Mountain Quail

  1. Colorado
The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek

The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek “strutting display” as groups of females observe and select the most attractive to mate with. And only a few males do most of the breeding.

Official State Bird: Lark Bunting

Why It Sucks: Yes, it’s a unique bird and the male is quite nice looking but it’s quite rare even in its own state.

Best Candidate: Gunnison Sage Grouse

Why: It is one of the rarest birds in North America and its population is only in a small area of Colorado. It’s also a truly unique bird in its own right with a great feather display and are notable in their unique courtship rituals. Also, most experts recommend this.

Other Options: Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Calliope Hummingbird, Brown Capped Rosy Finch, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Greater Sage Grouse, American Three-Toed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Brown-Capped Rosy Finch, Boreal Owl

  1. Connecticut
Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they're also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they're known to chase hawks and owls.

Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they’re also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they’re known to chase hawks and owls.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird in 3 states which means that Connecticut should find a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Blue Jay

Why: For one, it’s a common North American bird and a rather iconic one. It’s also a rather feisty bird known to chase predatory birds like hawks and owls as well as make a variety of sounds. Besides, it’s been cited in a couple of works by Mark Twain, one of Connecticut’s most famous residents (and let’s just say the state is home to a lot of celebrities). Why the Blue Jay isn’t already a state bird in this country, I have no idea. But it’s a better choice than the American Robin.

Other Options: Killdeer, Great Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, American Crow, Connecticut Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Delaware
Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a

Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a “broken wing display” in order to direct a predator’s attention away from its chicks. Of course, human activity at beaches has led to a population decline that conservationists have reserved beaches for them during breeding season.

Official State Bird: Delaware Blue Hen

Why It Sucks: Face it, it’s a domesticated chicken that makes for a very lame mascot at one of its universities. Not to mention, it’s not even recognized as a chicken breed for God’s sake. It’s just a state bird due its significance in a Revolutionary War regiment in the state. And its main use was in cockfighting. Real nice. Yeah, it’s a stupid state bird in a state that’s only known for Joe Biden, corporate friendly tax rates, Dr. Oz, and not much else.

Best Candidate: Piping Plover

Why: For one, the Delaware Audubon Society has a whole article on it as an Endangered Species. Second, it’s a shorebird and is quite small and Delaware is home to a lot of coastal birds. Third, Delaware even has a program to restore this bird’s population, which has led to the state closing a beach section during its breeding season. And like Delaware, it doesn’t look anything special.

Other Options: Red Knot, Seaside Sparrow, Purple Martin, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Tufted Titmouse, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Florida
Now the American Flamingo isn't as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it's only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it's still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn't Florida's state bird already is beyond me.

Now the American Flamingo isn’t as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it’s only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it’s still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn’t Florida’s state bird already is beyond me.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states with one of them being Texas. Florida has one of the worst excuses since it has a rather diverse bird population, particularly in the Everglades which was designated as a National Park to preserve some of them. And all the birds they could’ve had to represent their state, they had to pick a small one that’s found everywhere. Really? That’s stupid.

Best Candidate: American Flamingo

Why: Basically, it’s such an iconic bird in Florida that it’s their unofficial state bird already. Of course, they’re not as common as they used to be in the state but as 2015, it’s been said that they’ve returned to the Everglades since about 147 have been seen there during the latest breeding season. Still, when you think of Florida, the American Flamingo is the first bird you think about. This is mostly because its likeness has been used in many tacky lawn decorations by Florida residents and others.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Anhinga, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, American White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Sora, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Calliope Hummingbird, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Florida Scrub-Jay, Purple Martin, Painted Bunting, Hooded Merganser, Tricolored Heron, Sandhill Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Smooth-Billed Ani, Reddish Egret

  1. Georgia
The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It's said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you'd expect for their size.

The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It’s said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you’d expect for their size.

Official State Bird: Brown Thrasher

Why It Sucks: Well, for one, it’s not a compelling bird. Also, it had a hockey team named the Atlanta Thrashers which relocated to Canada and became the Calgary Flames. It’s also a rather common bird in the Southeastern US. Other than that, it’s not a terrible choice, just not one I think is good for Georgia.

Best Candidate: Eastern Towhee

Why: It is a large and striking species of sparrow that stands out better than the Brown Thrasher. Sure it’s a common eastern bird but it’s a permanent resident of Georgia as well as carries a nice sound, too. It’s also more common than a Brown Thrasher.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Audubon’s Shearwater, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, American White Ibis, Black Vulture, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike

  1. Hawaii
The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

Official State Bird: Nene (Hawaiian Goose)

Why It Sucks: Now the Nene might seem like a great tropical state bird for Hawaii since it’s rather unique to the islands. However, the fact that it’s a goose is kind of disappointing to say the least. Besides, Hawaii must have other more interesting species than this one. Not the kind of bird I’d want to see on a postcard from there.

Best Candidate: Pueo (Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl)

Why: Well, because this owl is a rather significant bird in Hawaiian folklore as one of the physical forms of the ancestor spirits. It is deemed as a sacred family protector and bringer of good luck, despite being endangered. Besides, an owl is a better state bird than a goose any day of the week.

Other Options: Brant Goose, Laysan Albatross, Black-Footed Albatross, Hawaiian Petrel, Bonin Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Black Noddy, Kauaʻi ʻelepaio, Oʻahu ʻelepaio, Hawaiʻi ʻelepaio, ʻŌmaʻo, Nihoa Finch, Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi, Liwi, ʻAnianiau, ʻApapane, Red Crested Cardinal, Hawaiian Gallinule, Hawaiian Stilt

  1. Idaho
Now the Pinyon Jay isn't a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Now the Pinyon Jay isn’t a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Because it shares its state bird with Nevada. Not to mention, there aren’t many in that state.

Best Candidate: Pinyon Jay

Why: Well, for one, Idaho State University has a press venture named after it. Second, despite it appearing in a few southern Idaho counties, it seems to have a rather special place in that state. However, unlike the Mountain Bluebird, the Pinyon Jay is said to be seen in Idaho every month of the year, especially during the summer.

Other Options: Franklin’s Gull, Western Gull, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Band-Tailed Pidgeon, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Great Gray Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Gray Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Bullock’s Oriole, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Rufous Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcon, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, White-Throated Swift, Boreal Owl

  1. Illinois
The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It's the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It's said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It’s the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It’s said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: Because the Northern Cardinal is the state bird for 7 states. That’s more than how many states have been home to Abraham Lincoln who spent most of his life there.

Best Candidate: Greater Prairie Chicken

Why: While it’s not as common in Illinois as the Northern Cardinal and only found in Southern Illinois, it’s nevertheless a rather unique bird to the state. They also kind of have a great combination of Springfield folksiness you’d associate with Lincoln as well as the badassery and rowdiness you’d associate with Chicago.

Other Options: Common Loon, White Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-Eyed Junco, Eastern Goldfinch, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel, Dickcissel, Eastern Kingbird, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Indiana
The Bobolink is said to be one of the world's most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it's said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

The Bobolink is said to be one of the world’s most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it’s said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: As with Illinois, it’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than states claiming to be the home of Abraham Lincoln, who spent his later childhood and teenage years there.

Best Candidate: Bobolink

Why: Besides its awesome name and unique appearance, this is a much more unique bird to Indiana than the Northern Cardinal which is everywhere. Bobolinks are only prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. Besides, it has an awesome color scheme.

Other Options: White-Breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Downy Woodpecker, Dark-Eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, Song Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Purple Martin, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Iowa
The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Well, despite having a good reason for the Eastern Goldfinch, it’s also the state bird of New Jersey and Washington.

Best Candidate: Dickcissel

Why: Let’s face it, this is a unique bird in the Midwest and Iowa is a state best known for its agriculture. It also has a great unique name as well as polygynous mating habits, which is rare for a songbird. But it kind of fits well how Iowa was one of the first states to legalize gay marriage, a measure nobody expected.

Other Options: Red-Winged Blackbird, Greater Prairie Chicken, American Kestrel, Rough-Legged Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Barn Owl, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Mississippi Kite, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Kansas
The American Crow is a true survivor since it's highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They're also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

The American Crow is a true survivor since it’s highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They’re also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

Official State Bird:  Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states, including a couple of its neighbors.

Best Candidate: American Crow

Why: Because the American Crow is among one of the smartest and most underrated North American Birds. Not to mention, Kansas has dealt with a lot of crap during its history such as tornadoes, violent disputes over slavery, the Dust Bowl, terrible school boards, and Sam Brownback. The American Crow has been seen as a pest and there have been efforts to eliminate it. But still, it’s a very resilient and adaptable bird that also fulfills a key purpose like Kansas. So I think it’s one that represents Kansas the best. Besides, it’s about time the American Crow should be a state bird.

Other Options: Ruffed Grouse, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Mississippi Kite, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Barn Owl, Prairie Falcon, Dickcissel, Whooping Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Kentucky
The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a

The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a “blue cardinal” because that’s what it pretty much is.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than those who claim to be the Land of Lincoln. Of course, this was where Lincoln was born.

Best Candidate: Blue Grosbeak

Why: For one, it’s in the same family as the Northern Cardinal. Second, since Kentucky is known as “the Bluegrass State” it’s only fair that it should be represented by a bird with blue feathers. I think it’s a good compromise.

Other Options: Field Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, American Kestrel, Kentucky Warbler, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Evening Grosbeak, Red-Winged Blackbird. American Crow, Purple Martin, Blue Grosbeak, American Kestrel, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Louisiana
Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn't spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana's state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn’t spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana’s state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Official State Bird: Brown Pelican

Why It Sucks: Well, this isn’t a bad state bird since Louisiana is known as “the Pelican State.” But it’s not an attractive bird. Also, it’s not even the pelican that appears on its state flag. Besides, it’s not a common bird in Louisiana.

Best Candidate: American White Pelican

Why: Because the pelican on the Louisiana State Flag is always white, not brown. To have the American White Pelican as its state bird would make much better sense. And unlike the Brown Pelican, it does spend time in Louisiana (though it doesn’t necessarily breed there).

Other Options: Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Wood Duck, Wood Stork, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Belted Kingfisher, Crested Caracara, Louisiana Waterthrush, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Maine
The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine's most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Massachusetts. It’s also a rather common American bird as well. It’s cute but Maine can do better.

Best Candidate: Atlantic Puffin

Why: It’s not a common bird in Maine (residing on 5 islands off the coast) but it has at least 2 things going for it, especially since attempts to restore it to its historical range have been successful in the state. For one, it’s one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers. There are even boating tours to see these birds during the summer. Second, it’s basically the only state in the US where these adorable Subarctic birds reside. Thus, while it’s adorable, it’s also one of the most unique birds in Maine.

Other Options: Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Spruce Grouse, Blue Jay, American Kestrel, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Philadelphia Vireo, Common Raven, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, Seaside Sparrow, Red Wing Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Maryland
Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he's most famous for

Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he’s most famous for “The Raven” so would the Common Raven. Not to mention, Maryland is home to the Baltimore Ravens but we’ll discuss Ray Lewis’s murder allegations nevermore.

Official State Bird: Baltimore Oriole

Why It Sucks: While it does make sense for Maryland to have this as their state bird as well as a name of Baltimore’s Major League Baseball team, there aren’t many in the state.

Best Candidate: Common Raven

Why: Aside from the Baltimore Oriole, this is the other bird identified with Maryland. Edgar Allan Poe is associated with the city of Baltimore despite the fact he only lived there for 2 years and dying there in 1849 under interesting circumstances. Nevertheless, he’s buried there though. He’s best known for his poem, “The Raven” from where the Baltimore Ravens get their name (though they were previously the Cleveland Browns before moving there). Sure it might not be a common bird in the state, but it’s a rather significant one due to its connection to Poe and American Literature. Besides, more people are familiar with Poe’s “The Raven” than Lord Baltimore.

Other Options: Osprey, Barnacle Goose, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Wood Stork, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Killdeer, Royal Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, American Oystercatcher, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Massachusetts
Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they're actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can't fly higher than a quarter mile.

Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they’re actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can’t fly higher than a quarter mile.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Maine. Cute but Massachusetts can do better.

Best Candidate: Wild Turkey

Why: For one, it’s the Massachusetts state game bird so it probably has reasonable appeal as a state symbol. Second, like Massachusetts, it’s associated with Thanksgiving, an American national holiday. Third, it was even recommended as a national symbol by Benjamin Franklin who was a native of Boston. Let’s just say between this bird and the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Wild Turkey is a more appropriate choice for Massachusetts’ state bird.

Other Options: Kirtland’s Warbler, Piping Plover, Blue Jay, Chimney Swift, Orchard Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Dark-Eyed Junco, Great Blue Heron, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Norther Goshawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Common Tern, Red Wing Blackbird, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Michigan
Kirtland's Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan's jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear's guts.

Kirtland’s Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan’s jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear’s guts.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird in 3 states in the country. Time for Michigan to find a new state bird. Besides, it’s a very common bird anyway when the state can do better.

Best Candidate: Kirtland’s Warbler

Why: For one it’s a bird that pretty much resides in this state which was almost extinct nearly 50 years ago, but they’ve made a recovery. It’s now classified as Near Threatened. Also, it has a community college named after it. Still, it would be a better bird than the American Robin.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Cape May Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Great Blue Heron, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cave Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Shrike, Eastern Kingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Owl, Killdeer, Red-Tailed Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Dark-Eyed Junco, Cooper’s Hawk, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black Tern, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Minnesota
Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it's home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it’s home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Official State Bird: Common Loon

Why It Sucks: Well, the Common Loon is a nice bird. But it usually resides more often in Michigan than Minnesota (even if the latter has a lot of lakes) as well as winters on the American Coast. Minnesota may be in the Great Lakes region but it’s more of an inland state.

Best Candidate: Golden-Winged Warbler

Why: For one, it’s more common in Minnesota than the Common Loon. Second, it’s known to breed in this state as well as in Wisconsin. Still, it may not be a Common Loon but it’s a rather magnificent and more appropriate bird for the state.

Other Options: Sedge Wren, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Parasitic Jaeger, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Piping Plover, Common Tern, Common Redpoll, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Capped Chickadee, Wood Duck, Scarlet Tanager, Great Blue Heron, Blackburnian Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Osprey, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ruffed Grouse, Trumpeter Swan, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Tern, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Mississippi
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states in the country. I’m sure Mississippi has a more diverse bird population that it could do better.

Best Candidate: Great Blue Heron

Why: Let’s just say it’s a prevalent bird in the Mississippi and the Great Egret is already a symbol for The Audubon Society. Mississippi is also known to have wetlands and waterways which the Great Blue Heron is well suited for. Besides, it’s a better state bird choice than the Northern Mockingbird.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Egret, Yellow-Breasted Chat, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Herring Gull, American Crow, American Coot, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Belted Kingfisher, Mississippi Kite, Killdeer, Anhinga, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Missouri
The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator's intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator’s intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird as New York. And it’s not as common as you might think due to having to compete with invasive species like sparrows and starlings.

Best Candidate: American Kestrel

Why: Missouri has often been in the middle of a lot of stuff during its history. It was a border state during the antebellum years as well as the starting point in the Oregon Trail. It had residents fight on both sides during the American Civil War and was the home of Quantrill’s Raiders (that included the James brothers). Besides, it has a reputation as a bellwether state and is home to a lot of wildlife diversity. And since the American Kestrel is a common bird of prey that lives in a variety of habitats as well as resides in the state year round, I can’t think of better bird to represent the state. Not to mention, it’s known to be quite feisty like Missouri native Harry Truman.

Other Options: Northern Cardinal, Wood Duck, Blue Jay, Easter Whippoorwill, Henslow’s Sparrow, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Coot, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red Wing Blackbird, Barn Owl, Purple Martin, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Montana
McCown's Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

McCown’s Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s a state bird of 6 states. Besides, Montana is the home to a lot of birds as well, which doesn’t give it much of an excuse.

Best Candidate: McCown’s Longspur

Why: Because it mostly breeds in this state during the summer (along with Wyoming). They also are known for characteristic aerial and song displays. It’s a more unique bird to the state than the Western Meadowlark.

Other Options: Vesper Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Dusky Grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Great Gray Owl, Calliope Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Black-Billed Magpie, American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon, American Crow, Bullock’s Oriole, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pinyon Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Sprauge’s Pipit, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Trumpeter Swan, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Mountain Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Boreal Owl

  1. Nebraska
The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska's Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there's even a Crane festival in March.

The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska’s Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there’s even a Crane festival in March.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird of 6 states. Time for Nebraska to find something else to represent their state.

Best Candidate: Sandhill Crane

Why: Because 500,000 of these birds return to Nebraska’s Platte River every year around February to April. However, it’s one of the largest bird congregation spectacle in North America which brings between 12,000 and 15,000 people to the area each year. There’s even a crane festival in March.

Other Options: Greater Prairie Chicken, Red-Tailed Hawk, Whooping Crane, Killdeer, Blue Jay, Piping Plover, Bobolink, Least Tern, Harris’s Sparrow, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-Fronted Goose, Mallard Duck, Northern Pintail, Lesser Snow Goose, Black-Billed Magpie, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Nevada
The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I'm sure the male of this species looks like he's straight from Las Vegas.

The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I’m sure the male of this species looks like he’s straight from Las Vegas.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird with Idaho. Besides, Nevada could at least have more showy bird than that. I mean Nevada is famous for tackiness, sin, vice, gambling, quickie divorces, marrying under the influence, materialism, prostitution, atomic testing, and other crazy things. The state bird should reflect that. And the Mountain Bluebird doesn’t really hold a candle to that since it’s too nice.

Best Candidate: Greater Sage Grouse

Why: Despite being more abundant in Wyoming, this is the perfect state bird for Nevada. For one, it inhabits the northern part of state year round. Secondly, the male of the species looks as if you’d expect it to come out of Las Vegas. Not to mention, it has a rather elaborate mating ritual.

Other Options: White-Faced Ibis, Dusky Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Turkey Vulture, Common Black-Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Mountain Plover, Greater Roadrunner, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, Great Gray Owl, Gila Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Tanager, Red Wing Blackbird, Great-Tailed Grackle, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Evening Grosbeak, Juniper Titmouse, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper

  1. New Hampshire
The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

Official State Bird: Purple Finch

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s not really purple. Second, the male’s plumage of Neapolitan ice cream getting all mixed up. Third, it’s kind of ugly to say the least.

Best Candidate: Red-Tailed Hawk

Why: Face it, there was a group of 4th graders who wanted it to be their state raptor. Their proposal was turned down in the New Hampshire State Legislature in front of their faces. I think it would be best if the legislature reconvened and named this their state bird instead of the Purple Finch. Besides, its feathers were seen as sacred by many Native American tribes Not only that, but they’re really cool to say the least. Has all kinds of subspecies and morphs, too. Yeah, the Red-Tailed Hawk is awesome and it should be a state bird.

Other Options: Black-Capped Chickadee, American Redstart, Purple Martin, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Goldfinch, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Osprey, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Jersey
The Black Skimmer's remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

The Black Skimmer’s remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird with Iowa and Washington. Also, doesn’t really live up to New Jersey’s reputation if you know what I mean. Besides, it has a better birding acclaim and can do better.

Best Candidate: Black Skimmer

Why: For one, despite New Jersey’s reputation, at least the state is doing something to conserve this bird’s population in its breeding range on the Jersey Shore. Second, you can joke by how this bird’s name describes a lot of New Jersey’s politicians since it has a horrible reputation for corruption.

Other Options: Seaside Sparrow, Wood Duck, Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Pie-Billed Grebe, Northern Gannet, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Glossy Ibis, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Black Tern, Royal Tern, Long-Eared Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Mexico
The Steller's Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

The Steller’s Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

Official State Bird: Roadrunner

Why It Sucks: Now this is an appropriate state bird. However, I’m sure there are people in this state who aren’t pleased because they’re fans of Wiley Coyote. Perhaps New Mexico should be represented by a less controversial bird.

Best Candidate: Steller’s Jay

Why: First, it appears in most of New Mexico all year round. Second, its colorful feathers help reflect the state’s vibrant art culture that’s replete with Mexican and Southwest Native American influences. Nevertheless, it’s a very beautiful bird for a state like New Mexico.

Other Options: Chihuahuan Raven, Scaled Quail, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Hen Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, White-Eared Hummingbird, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Evening Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon

  1. New York
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It's also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It’s also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird as Missouri. Not to mention, it’s not an appropriate bird to represent the state.

Best Candidate: Peregrine Falcon

Why: For one, New York was a leading state that helped restore its population after it was nearly depleted by DDT and other pesticide. Second, it’s practically the fastest animal on earth with a speed of over 200 mph. Third, it’s a very adaptable bird that has resided almost everywhere. Besides, as a city bird, they are highly beneficial to the ecosystem, especially when it comes to controlling the feral pigeon population, which are outright pests.

Other Options: Cerulean Warbler, Ring-Billed Gull, Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Blue Jay, Red-Tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-Backed Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, American Crow, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Prothonotary Warbler, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Cape May Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. North Carolina
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it's said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it’s said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Yes, it’s common and it’s pretty. But still, it’s used to represent 7 states, which means it’s time for a more appropriate state bird.

Best Candidate: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Why: Because it’s one of the most loved birds of the state that many people put up hummingbird feeders to watch them. Besides, it’s a beautiful bird in its own right that fits well on a postcard and it’s about time that it should be a state bird. Not to mention, it’s a way better choice than the Northern Cardinal.

Other Options: Carolina Wren, Prothonotary Warbler, Royal Tern, Carolina Chickadee, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Audubon’s Shearwater, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Brown Pelican, American White Pelican, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Snowy Egret, American White Ibis, Black Skimmer, Herring Gull, Eastern Whippoorwill, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, American Crow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Red Wing Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cerulean Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. North Dakota
The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America's duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America’s duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. North Dakota needs something more original since it’s said to be quite famous for its birds, particularly its ducks.

Best Candidate: Blue-Winged Teal

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common ducks in North Dakota and not in the nation (which is obviously the Mallard). Second, the state is famous among birders and hunters as America’s duck nursery. So it only makes sense that North Dakota should have a duck as its state bird.

Other Options: Nelson’s Sparrow, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Scaup, Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Clark’s Nutcracker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink, American Avocet, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Baird’s Sparrow, Ruddy Duck, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Ohio
Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it's only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it'll be known as the

Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it’s only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it’ll be known as the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states so yeah, which is as many as Ohio has presidents born there. Ohio needs a new and more original state bird.

Best Candidate: Baltimore Oriole

Why: For one, it has a similar color scheme as the Cincinnati Bengals to some extent. Second, it’s more common in Ohio than Maryland as well as well-loved there. And third, since Baltimore already took Cleveland’s football team and won 2 Super Bowls, I kind of thought it was only fair for Ohio to take Maryland’s current state bird as fair compensation. So in Ohio, this bird will now be called the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Other Options: Willow Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Indigo Bunting, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Bobwhite, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Whippoorwill, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Easter Kingbird, Blue-Headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Dickissel, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Oklahoma
The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

Official State Bird: Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique and interesting bird. But I’m not sure about its feathers which are kind of drab. Besides, Oklahoma can do better.

Best Candidate: Painted Bunting

Why: It is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America and it breeds in this state. Though difficult to find due to a declining population because of people in Central America, Mexico, and Cuba selling them as pets during their migration, Oklahoma is one of 4 states to have a significant population. Still, it’s a truly beautiful bird that should be on a postage stamp.

Other Options: Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, Mississippi Kite, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Scaled Quail, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Common Gallinule, Barn Owl, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird

  1. Oregon
Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America's only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It's also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America’s only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It’s also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. This means that Oregon needs a new state bird. Surely the state has more original avian wildlife than that.

Best Candidate: American Dipper

Why: It’s a mountain bird known to inhabit streams as well as the only aquatic songbird of North America. Its presence indicates good water quality as well as possesses a sweet song. Not to mention, their nests are some of the most extraordinary pieces of bird architecture ever. And like Oregon, it may not look very noteworthy but there are some things about it that make it quite interesting.

Other Options: Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Tufted Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Mountain Quail, Western Grebe, Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Northern Fulmar, Green Heron, Green-Tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, White-Tailed Kite, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Heerman’s Gull, Mew Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Western Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Tufted Puffin, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Allen’s Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Steller’s Jay, Pinyon Jay, Black-Billed Magpie, Violet-Green Swallow

  1. Pennsylvania
The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It's also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It’s also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

Official State Bird: Ruffed Grouse

Why It Sucks: As a native and lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, I have never seen this bird in my life. And I’m a rural resident as well as lived in this state for 25 years. Nor do I know anyone who has seen them in this state. Besides, it’s said that only 86% of these birds live in Canada. Guess they were all killed by hunters.

Best Candidate: Indigo Bunting

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common nester in Pennsylvania and has been seen in recent years almost everywhere in the state. Second, it has a distinctive sound as well as a bright blue feather display for the males (well, their feathers reflect as blue like the sky in good lighting. In poor lighting, they look black). Third, it’s a bird that’s more or less confined to the Eastern United States during its breeding season. Besides, it’s a more beautiful bird than the Ruffed Grouse.

Other Options: Scarlet Tanager, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Red Wing Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Harrier, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Gray Catbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Killdeer, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Screech-Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Great Crested Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-Headed Vireo, Barred Owl, Eastern Towhee, Purple Martin, Snow Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler

  1. Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be a small state, but it's part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Rhode Island may be a small state, but it’s part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Official State Bird: Rhode Island Red

Why It Sucks: To put a short story short, it’s a freaking breed of chicken for God’s sake. Seriously, it’s unconscionable like Delaware’s.

Best Candidate: Great Black-Backed Gull

Why: It’s the largest gull in Rhode Island as well as a year-long resident in the state. And since Rhode Island is known for its beaches, it should only be fitting it be represented by a sea gull. Besides, it’s better than having a chicken as state bird.

Other Options: Herring Gull, Snow Bunting, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Common Redpoll, White-Throated Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Purple Sandpiper, Ivory Gull, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Laughing Gull, Gull-Billed Tern, Brown Noddy, Band-Rumped Storm Petrel, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, American Black Duck

  1. South Carolina
A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

Official State Bird: Carolina Wren

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s better than having a Northern Mockingbird which they used to have. Besides, it has “Carolina” in it. However, it’s kind of drab and found almost everywhere in the east.

Best Candidate: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Why: South Carolina is the best place to look for this rare species since it lives in cavities in mature pine forests. It’s listed as vulnerable. Besides, it’s prettier than the Carolina Wren.

Other Options: Audubon’s Shearwater, Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, American Black Vulture, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Purple Gallinule, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Black-Necked Stilt, Carolina Chickadee, Brown Noddy, Royal Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Pine Warbler, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Boat-Tailed Grackle

  1. South Dakota
The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

Official State Bird: Ring-Necked Pheasant

Why It Sucks: In short, it’s an introduced Eurasian Plains bird. It was brought over to the US by English settlers who wanted to bring some old country bird to shoot at.

Best Candidate: Upland Sandpiper

Why: While most sandpipers usually favor the coast and mudflats, this bird prefers open country with tall grasses. South Dakota is in the Great Plains which is known for its grassland and prairies. Clearly these two are meant for each other. May not be as flashy as the Ring-Necked Pheasant but at least it’s a native.

Other Options: Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Loon, Red-Tailed Hawk, Pied-Bill Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Lazuli Bunting, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker

  1. Tennessee
The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states including Florida and Texas. Seriously, Tennessee needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Wood Duck

Why: Well, I think it provides a perfect combination for what Tennessee represents. It’s rustic enough for the Appalachian and down home country music. But the male is rather strikingly flashy enough for the music culture of Nashville and Memphis. Besides, Tennessee has a conservation program for these with people building boxes for them.

Other Options: Yellow-Throated Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Tennessee Warbler, Killdeer, Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Kestrel, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Purple Martin, Nashville Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Bobwhite Quail

  1. Texas
Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states which includes Florida. Seriously, Texas, you’re the state with an obnoxious ego bigger than your love for oil, firearms, and capital punishment. Your people take special pride in their cowboy culture, state flag, and history that kids all over the country have to learn it in their history class (which is important for the US to be fair but still). Not to mention, you have plenty of species of birds from which to choose from. Own it.

Best Candidate: Aplomado Falcon

Why: Let’s face it, I can go with a lot unique birds here. But I know that Northern Crested Caracara is too much identified with Mexico while the Roseate Spoonbill is a bird the people of Texas would never really be comfortable with. Now I know that this bird doesn’t have much of a range in Texas. But it’s a bird with a Spanish name and it’s said that small birds fear it more than most predators. So I think this is a bird Texans can really take pride in.

Other Options: Black-Crested Titmouse, Olive Sparrow, Cave Swallow, Roseate Spoonbill, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Swainson’s Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Lesser Goldfinch, Audubon’s Shearwater, Painted Bunting, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Reddish Egret, Tricolored Heron, White-Tailed Hawk, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Inca Dove, Grooved-Billed Ani, Elf Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Green Jay, Mexican Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Black-Crested Titmouse, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Black-Chinned Sparrow, Varied Bunting

  1. Utah
The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it's kind of neglectful, but it's sometimes how nature works, man.

The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of neglectful, but it’s sometimes how nature works, man.

Official State Bird: California Gull

Why It Sucks: Yes, I get it helped save Mormons from a locust swarm or so I’m told. Utahns even have a gold statue of it commemorating the occasion. But it’s a bird with “California” in its name for God’s sake. The state is not near a coastline. Besides, the bird only uses Utah as a migration stop anyway. Not to mention, I’m sure there were plenty of other birds that helped save Mormons from a locust swarm as well.

Best Candidate: Snowy Plover

Why: Well, unlike the California Gull, it actually lives in Utah to breed even if it’s just the Great Salt Lake area.  Still, this is seen as a threatened bird but the state does have a substantial population of them. Besides, it’s quite adorable as well as eats insects.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Gambel’s Quail, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, Swainson’s Hawk, Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-Necked Phalarope, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Long-Billed Dowitcher, American White Pelican, White-Faced Ibis, Eared Grebe, Northern Goshawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Violet-Green Swallow, Juniper Titmouse, American Dipper, Lazuli Bunting

  1. Vermont
The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it's said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it’s said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

Official State Bird: Hermit Thrush

Why It Sucks: It’s nice but it doesn’t incite the kind of enthusiasm I’d have for Ben & Jerry, cheese, or Bernie Sanders.

Best Candidate: Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Why: Well, it’s adorable and colorful like some people from Vermont. Besides, it prefers upland forests with tons of old growth. And I’m sure the Green Mountain State has plenty of them. Not to mention, it’s bird that only breeds in the US northeast.

Other Options: Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Black-Capped Chickadee, Snow Bunting, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Red-Tailed Hawk, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Horned Lark, Common Redpoll, Eastern Kingbird, Black-Billed Cuckoo, American Woodcock, Veery, Blue-Headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, White-Throated Sparrow, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Osprey, Killdeer

  1. Virginia
The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It's also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you've seen in most bird species, this isn't the case.

The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It’s also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you’ve seen in most bird species, this isn’t the case.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states in the country. Surely a state like Virginia should have a more original state bird than that.

Best Candidate: Belted Kingfisher

Why: Since Virginia is a state with a lot of wetlands and waterways, then this would be a perfect state to be represented by a fishing bird. Not to mention, it’s a permanent resident in Virginia as well as a much better bird for the state than the Cardinal. And unlike the Cardinal, it has no red coat.

Other Options: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Barred Owl, Virginia Rail, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Wood Duck, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Laughing Gull, Great Horned Owl, Whippoorwill, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Eastern Kingbird, Red-Eyed Vireo, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Gray Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Green Heron, Tree Swallow, Northern Parula, Black-and-White Warbler, Cooper’s Hawk

  1. Washington
The Spotted Owl's status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it's one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

The Spotted Owl’s status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it’s one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Though known as the “Willow” Goldfinch, it’s basically the same state bird as Iowa and New Jersey but by a different name. Nice try, Washington.

Best Candidate: Spotted Owl

Why: Let’s just say since it’s experienced a significant decline in Washington that it’s near threatened. However, conserving this bird has brought a lot of contention between conservationists, loggers, cattle grazers, and developers. A decision to reinforce a critical habitat for the owl was challenged by The Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association. Thus, because of the controversy the term, Spotted Owl has come to mean, “trivial environmental issues that do nothing but waste land for economic development as well as taxpayer money.” Still, I think saving the Spotted Owl’s habitat is worth it since “old growth” forests are almost impossible to replace. Besides, preserving these “old growth” forests doesn’t just save the owls either.

Other Options: Glaucous-Winged Gull, Evening Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Common Loon, Violet-Green Swallow, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Ferruginous Hawk, Black Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Great Gray Owl, Boreal Owl

  1. West Virginia
The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Now I’m sure West Virginia might have some good excuse on this since the state is an environmental disaster area. But still, I don’t imagine a Northern Cardinal when I think about West Virginia. Besides, it’s the state bird of Virginia as well which West Virginia split from during the American Civil War because it wanted nothing to do with the Confederacy.

Best Candidate: Cerulean Warbler

Why: It’s a common breeding bird in West Virginia despite the fact it’s the fastest declining songbird in North America as well as prefers mature forests with closed canopies as its habitat. But despite West Virginia’s environmental problems, these birds seem to love it there that they return there to breed every year.

Other Options: Swainson’s Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Northern Bobwhite, Black Scoter, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Chimney Swift, Olive-Sided Flycatcher, Golden-Winged Warbler, Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Bicknell’s Thrush

  1. Wisconsin
The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they've been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they’ve been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 3 states. This means that Wisconsin needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Trumpeter Swan

Why: Well, it’s one of the most notable native birds of North America. Besides, Wisconsin had a successful recovery for them since the 1980s which has been quite successful. Besides, it doesn’t look half bad on postcards.

Other Options: Golden-Winged Warbler, Sandhill Crane, Cooper’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Killdeer, Purple Martin, Common Loon, Common Merganser, Bobolink, Greater Prairie Chicken, Cerulean Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Indigo Bunting, Whippoorwill, Dickcissel, Blue-Winged Teal, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Whooping Crane

  1. Wyoming
The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It's also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It’s also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. Obviously, Wyoming probably has a bird diversity that gives it no excuse.

Best Candidate: Ferruginous Hawk

Why: Well, Wyoming is home to all kinds of cool wildlife that I can’t think of a better bird to represent it than the largest hawk in North America. Besides, hawks are cool.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Loon, Swainson’s Hawk, Pinyon Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Steller’s Jay, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, Spotted Owl, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Violet-Green Swallow, Snow Bunting, Lazuli Bunting, Prairie Falcon, Great Gray Owl, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Tanager

Flowers You Wouldn’t Want in Your Garden (Other than Weeds)

flower-garden-birdhouse

Spring and summer are great times for flowers since they’re seen as pretty and sweet smelling so it’s no wonder we put them in vases, use them as decoration for special occasions, and bestow on people as gifts saying, “I love you,” “Congratulations,” or “Get well soon.” Flower gardens are at their ultimate splendor during this time of year. Of course, many people do have pollen allergies but we don’t talk about that except on commercials for allergy medicine. Then you have flowers like dandelions, clover, and other wildflowers that are pleasing out on the road but many would consider weeds in a conventional flower garden, especially an English flower garden to be exact. Still, we have to accept the fact that not all flowers are the beautiful sweet smellers we all know and love. Let’s say there are several varieties of flowers and while most are of the conventional variety, there are some that smell bad, are ugly and/or creepy, are poisonous to humans and animals,  cause a lot of ecological destruction as an invasive species, and just don’t make good additions to a beautiful flower garden for some reason. And it’s not because they’re weeds for despite their tendency to meet the Roundup Grim Reaper or the lawn mower, many of these wild flowers can still be seen as beautiful or allergenic. So without further ado, here are the flowers you don’t want in your garden and it’s not that they take other nutrients away from your perennials.

1. Titan Arum

titan_arum_sized

Scientific Name: Amorphophallus titanium.

Native to: The rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a big flower with a massive bloom sometimes purple in color (since my favorite color is purple, this is a great thing).

Why wouldn’t you want it: This is known as one of the worst smelling flowers in the world that it’s one of two species nicknamed “the corpse flower” because it smells like a rotting, stinking corpse. While such an aroma would be considered heavenly by its principal pollinators consisting of flies and beetles (which lay their eggs on dead things), a flower smelling of rotting meat isn’t going to allow a man get laid on Valentines Day unless his date’s a botanist. Thankfully it blooms once every 4 to 6 years on average and its bloom only lasts a day or two.

 

2. Eastern Skunk Cabbage

Symplocarpus_foetidus_in_Mount_Nōgōhaku_2

Scientific Name: Symplocarpus foetidus.

Native to: The wetlands of Eastern North America from as North of Nova Scotia, to as west as Minnesota and as south as North Carolina and Tennessee.

Desirable Features: It has desirable foliage, a purple bloom, as well as medicinal properties which have been used to treat asthma, epilepsy, coughs, and rheumatism. So if you’re stuck in the woods away from civilization in Eastern North America, this would be a great flower to have at your disposal.

Why you wouldn’t want it: What gives this flower’s designation as “Eastern Skunk Cabbage” is that it gives away a bloom akin to a roadkill skunk. Such odor is desirable for potential pollinating flies but not for anyone else. It also doesn’t help that this flower is capable of thermogenesis (keeping itself warm), which not only lets it to bloom when there’s snow on the ground but also attract its pollinators by mimicking the heat generated by a fresh corpse. So unless you’re an asthmatic stuck near a wetland away from civilization in Eastern North America (or a botanist, naturally), you don’t want this.

 

3.The Rafflesia

Rafflesia_arnoldi_2013-12-31_21-48

Scientific Name: Rafflesia arnoldii. Genus has 27 other species.

Native to: The rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia. It’s one of Indonesia’s natural flowers where it’s a protected species.

Desirable Features: Has an impressive and beautiful bloom and produces the largest individual flower on earth.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Like Titan Arum, it’s also nicknamed, “the corpse flower” because it smells like a rotting corpse designed to attract flies to pollinate it (its red color also helps attract fly pollinators as well, since no one likes the repulsive smell of decaying flesh like a fly). Also, it’s considered a parasitic plant that lacks roots, stems, and leaves as well as doesn’t produce chlorophyll or photosynthesize. Rather it receives nutrients from a host plant (something that gardeners don’t want). Fortunately this flower dies after flowering for 5 days yet it’s seen as a rare species since a successful pollination for these flowers is a rare event in itself.

 

4. Hydnora Africana

Scientific Name: Same as regular name.

hydnoraafricana_sized

Native to: Southern Africa particularly the semi-arid regions.

Desirable Features: Heard their seeds and fruit are delicious as well as used for tanning leather and preserving fishing nets. Also used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, kidney and bladder complaints, and acne.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Due to it being a parasitic plant that only grows underground until flower, it’s no wonder it resembles a creature you’d see from the movie Tremors (that or female genitalia). Also, since the dung beetle is its choice pollinator, it gives an odor that smells like shit.

 

5. Bulbophyllum Phalaenopsis

bulbophyllum_sized

Scientific Name: Same as regular name. Also part of a large genus of orchid.

Native to: New Guinea.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s an orchid and has a pretty color.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a carrion flower known to smell like dead mice to attract flies. And there are many in its genus that smell like rotting flesh as well. So unless you’re an avid orchid collector or botanist, you probably wouldn’t want this in your flower garden.

 

6.Dead Horse Arum

Dracunculus_muscivorus

Scientific Name: Helicodiceros muscivorus.

Native to: Corsica, Sardinia, and the Baleric Islands.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s considered an ornamental plant and has a nice bloom.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Let’s just say it’s called a “Dead Horse Arum” because it’s said to smell like a dead horse to attract flies as pollinators. Doesn’t help that these flowers bloom on bright sunny days so the aroma can spread everywhere like a field freshly spread with manure. This basically ruins the enjoyment of any flower garden in such atmosphere. Also, exhibits thermogenesis.

 

7. Stapelia Gigantean

stapelia_gigantea_sized

Scientific Name: Same as regular name.

Native to: South Eastern Africa.

Desirable Features: Has a mesmerizing, fuzzy bloom which has enjoyed its share of cultivators.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Despite its beauty, it smells like rotting flesh to lure in flies. Culivators are generally advised to keep this plant outdoors so the fresh air could dilute the odor. So fellas, unless your girlfriend cultivates these plants or is a botanist, don’t give her this for Valentines Day.

 

8. The Voodoo Lily

dracunculus_vulgaris_sized

Scientific Name: Dracunculus vulgaris.

Native to: Greece, the Balkans, the Aegean Islands, and the southwest Turkey.

Desirable Features: It’s widely distributed and cultivated because of its stunning beauty. Not to mention, it can withstand drought.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a carrion flower that smells like rotting flesh to attract flies. Fortunately its stench lasts for about a day. Also, all parts of the plant are considered poisonous so and touching the plant could trigger skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

 

9. Birthwort

DSCN9023

Scientific Name: Aristolochia gigantean. It’s genus has varieties of 500 species in diverse climates.

Native to: Brazil.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s purple and has a spectacular bloom. As an ornamental plant it’s notable as being hardy. Said to help heal wounds but little else and it’s not worth taking.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it gives a foul odor of rotting flesh to attract flies. Second, many of the flowers in this genus are seen as rather ugly. Third, while it’s been seen as an herbal medicine for centuries (especially in China), it’s a very poisonous plant linked to severe renal and kidney disease as well as cancer. Unfortunately, it continues to be used as an herbal remedy.

 

10. The Opium Poppy

Opium Poppy

Scientific Name: Papaver somniferum.

Native to: Asia and the Middle East.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a medicinal plant as well as used for painkillers and is known for its ornamental beauty. Also, produces seeds which could be used as a condiment for many baked goods like buns and bagels.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Despite its beauty, this flower has a controversial reputation. It has an ambiguous legal status in the United States in which you can’t raise it for cultivation at a large agricultural scale without a license and only for medicinal purposes. Of course, reasons are obvious since these plants are a known source of heroin and other opiates. Still, this beauty managed to cause all sorts of problems throughout history and there’s no stopping it. I mean Great Britain managed to get Chinese people hooked on recreational opium during its empire days, which resulted in two wars. Ditto the War on Drugs in the US. As to why inner city drug lords don’t get into opium poppy cultivation, I don’t have the slightest idea.

 

11. Western Skunk Cabbage

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scientific Name: Lysichiton americanus.

Native to: Wetlands in the Pacific Northwest.

Desirable Features: It’s a beautiful yellow flower with great foliage. Can be used as a laxative as well as for sores and swellings but only in small quantities and its waxy leaves could be used for food preparation and storage.

Why you wouldn’t want it: While it doesn’t smell of rotting flesh, there’s a reason why it’s called the “Western Skunk Cabbage.” Since it attracts beetles and flies, it’s odor is akin to skunk spray even in old dried specimens. So if you came home from a hiking trip smelling like a skunk despite not seeing one, perhaps this flower may be a reason. Also, using too much of this plant as medicine can result in death.

 

12.Castor Oil Plant

RICINUS COMMUNIS RED GIANT

Scientific Name: Ricinus communis.

Native to: The Southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India.

Desirable Features: Has long been used as a medicinal plant as castor oil which has other uses (yet don’t consume it in its natural state). Also has lovely leaves and pink flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most poisonous plant and produce ricin. On milligram of its poison could kill a human adult. Its pink pom-pom flowers are especially dangerous to children. Also, the KGB used this plant’s poison to silence opposition permanently.

 

13. Nepenthes Truncata

Nepenthes truncata on exhibit 2

Scientific Name: Same as regular name though it is a pitcher plant.

Native to: The Philippines.

Desirable Features: Well, if you have problems with insects and vermin, I’m sure this carnivorous plant could come in handy.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it’s ugly and probably smells of rotten meat to attract its prey. Second, the fact its known to eat small mammals is rather unsettling, especially since its process to dissolve such animals in digestive enzymes has been seen.

 

14. Belladonna

Atropa_belladonna_003.3

Scientific Name: Atropa belladonna.

Native to: Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Desirable Features: It produces pretty purple flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This flower is highly poisonous and has been used in one of the worst beauty trends in history in which women used the berries to dilate their pupils. Symptoms include, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, slow or fast pulse, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, as well as convulsions and death. Though it has been long used as an herbal medicine and homeopathic drug, there’s insufficient scientific evidence to recommend its use. Also known to kill a lot of Roman Emperors.

 

15. White Snakeroot

snakeroot

Scientific Name: Ageratina altissima.

Native to: The US Appalachian Mountains.

Desirable Features: Has lovely white flowers and has roots that can be used for medicinal purposes.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a highly poisonous plant known to contain tremetol which led to the highly fatal milk sickness known to kill thousands of American settlers in the early 19th century, possibly including the mother of a US president.

 

16. Water Hemlock

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Scientific Name: Cicuta bulbifera. There are 3 other species for this genus though.

Native to: North America.

Desirable Features: It’s flowers look very similar to Queen Anne’s Lace but bigger.

Why you wouldn’t want it: According to the USDA, it’s considered as the most toxic plant in North America with its stalks containing full of the a sap containing cicutoxin. Ingesting a small amount of this could affect the central nervous system and cause seizures as well as bring death within 15 minutes. It’s also deadly to the touch even when dried. Most poisonings occurred due to confusion between these plants and other edible look-alikes, particularly from the Parsley family.  Those who survive may develop long term health conditions like amnesia.

 

17. Elephant Foot Yam

amorphophallus

Scientific Name: Amorphophallus paeoniifolius.

Native to: Southeast Asia.

Desirable Features: It has big purple leaves and is used as a cash crop in Southeast Asian countries. Elephant foot yams are used in cuisine as well as in medicine. Can be grown in areas that may seem unsuitable for crops.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s nickname is “the stink lily” because it smells like a corpse to attract flies. Also, it’s kind of ugly as well.

 

18. Black Bat Flower

BlackBatFlower

Scientific Name: Tacca chantrieri.

Native to: Southeast Asia and Southern China.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s not poisonous or smells bad. Also, it’s considered a collector’s item since it’s extremely rare.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This is one of the creepiest flowers ever in existence and is sure to inspire nightmares. So unless you love Halloween, are related to the Munsters or the Addams Family, or live in a dark castle on a hill or some other spooky residence, then this flower isn’t for you. Also, it’s a bitch to cultivate since it needs a lot of water and prefers high humidity so it would maybe work in my area but I’m not sure about the Munsters (since they live in California).

 

19. Dracula Orchid

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Scientific Name: Dracula sergioi. Has 118 species in its genus.

Native to: Central and South America.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s an orchid and it’s rare in the US. Also, it’s harmless.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Well, if there’s a flower named after Dracula, chances are it’s either very dangerous or very scary looking. This one resembles some sci-fi alien monster with a piranha like mouth. So if you aren’t into scary movies, then you probably don’t want this in your garden.

 

20. Monk’s Hood

Aconitum_carmichaelii_'arendsii'_1

Scientific Name: Aconitum carmichaelii. Genus has over 250 species.

Native to: East Asia.

Desirable Features: Well, a lot of these flowers are in a beautiful shade of purple and yellow.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It contains large quantities of pseudocontitine  or actonite which is a deadly poison. It’s no wonder that many cultures used this plant to poison their arrows, so they’d be much more lethal. Consuming this flower can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea followed by burning, tingling, numbness of face, mouth, and abdomen. When consumed in large quantities, leads to instant death. Still, you probably remember this plant from Harry Potter as an ingredient in the Wolfsbane potion; you know what Snape made for Lupin during that special time of the month. Of course, it’s no wonder he got sick from it. Also, used as Hannah McKay’s killing method of choice on Dexter.

 

21. Oleander

800px-20080311_Nerium_Oleander_Flowers

Scientific Name: Nerium oleander.

Native to: The Mediterranean region, most likely.

Desirable Features: It smells sweet and has beautiful pink flowers with petals being crimson, magenta, or creamy white. Also, a rather hardy plant that could withstand drought.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s one of the most toxic plants in the world and every part of this flower is incredibly poisonous if ingested. In fact, even inhaling one burning is seen as a health threat and even honey derived from its nectar could kill you. A single leaf could kill a child. Most of its human victims are campers who used this flower’s branches to roast marshmallows and hotdogs (well, according to urban legend). Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, abdominal pain, irregular heart rate, drowsiness, tremors, siezures, and coma.

 

22. Henbane

henbane-stinking-nightshade

Scientific Name: Hyoscyamus niger.

Native to: Eurasia.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a nice looking flower.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one it has a foul odor which is the reason it’s known as “stinking nightshade.” Second, all parts of this plant are considered highly poisonous in low doses. Symptoms ingesting it include visual hallucinations, dilated pupils, restlessness, flushed skin, vomiting, slow and fast pulse, hyperpyrexia and ataxia.

 

23. Poison Hemlock

plants_toxic-2

Scientific Name: Conium maculatum. There’s another species in this genus from Southern Africa. Also, don’t confuse it with the tree which is a different species entirely.

Native to: Europe and the Mediterranean.

Desirable Features: Resembles a bit like Queen Anne’s Lace.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This flower is extremely poisonous and ingesting small doses could cause respiratory collapse, muscular paralysis, and death. Retains poisonous properties when dried and is deadly to the touch. The famous Greek philosopher Socrates was condemned to death by drinking this. Second, because it’s poisonous, it could infest large pastures and open waste areas earning its invasive status.

 

24. Hemlock Water Dropwort

Oenanthe-Crocata-10-most-poisonous-flowers

Scientific Name: Oenanthe Crocata. Genus has another species.

Native to: Europe and the Mediterranean.

Desirable Features: Resembles a bit like Queen Anne’s Lace. Leaves pose no danger.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Despite its beauty, this is an extremely toxic plant (considered the most toxic plant in the UK), especially the stem and roots. A single root from this could kill a cow and human fatalities are known. It’s considered especially dangerous due to its resemblance to Chinese celery, Japanese wild celery, and it doesn’t help it shares the same genus.

 

25. Yellow Jasmine

Yellow-Jasmine

Scientific Name: Gelsemium sempervirens.

Native to: Southeastern US, Mexico, and Central America. State flower of South Carolina.

Desirable Features: Pretty yellow flowers and is sometimes used as an herbal medicine (when used right).

Why you wouldn’t want it: All parts of this plant contain the toxic strychnine alkaloids gelsemine and gelseminine, which is fatal to honeybees (and even more reason you wouldn’t want it in your garden, especially since there have reports of colony collapse disorder. Let’s just say any flower that’s fatally toxic to honeybees should never be used in a flower garden ever). Children have been poisoned sucking its nectar after mistaking it for honeysuckle and it can cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals.

 

26. Crown Vetch

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Scientific Name: Securigera varia.

Native to: Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Desirable Features: Well, it has pretty pink flowers and is used in the US and Canada as erosion control, roadside planting, and soil rehabilitation. I see this flower all the time when I’m on walks. Grows in most environments and provides good forage for deer and elk during the winter as well as good nesting grounds for birds. Rabbits use this plant for food and cover.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Of course, this is coming from an American perspective but in many US states they’re considered an invasive species or noxious weeds. In fact, many Americans consider this a weed. It’s a tough and aggressive spreading plant that will crowd out its neighbors in a show garden and is very hard to eradicate once established. So if you live in the US, don’t plant this unless you’re legally obligated to do so. Not to mention, it’s also poisonous to horses.

 

27. Latana Camara

Lantana_camara_flowers_2

Scientific Name: Same as regular name.

Native to: Central and South America.

Desirable Features: Pretty flowers and can survive in a variety of environments. Can go long without water. Indian scientists discovered that the leaves have anti-microbial, fungicidal, and insecticidal properties which is good for many gardeners. It’s been seen as effective for treating ulcers and respiratory infections.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Since this plant has spread to 50 different countries, it’s been considered an invasive species which will often out compete more desirable species which will lead to a reduction in biodiversity. It’s also known to be toxic to livestock like cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, and goats.

 

28. Rhododendron Ponticum

Rhododendron_ponticum

Scientific Name: Same as regular name. Its genus has over 1,000 species and includes azaelas.

Native to: Southern Europe and Southwest Asia. National flower of Nepal and state flower of West Virginia and Washington.

Desirable Features: This is a highly desirable evergreen shrub with big flowers and lovely green foliage. These flowers make a trip to my local cemetery almost a dream come Memorial Day and I always take pictures of them with my camera.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, this plant is considered a highly invasive species in New Zealand, the British Isles, and Western Europe. Second, it’s highly toxic especially to horses that are said to die within hours of ingesting it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, hallucinations, paralysis, severe pains, and even death and its effects have been known since ancient times. Even its honey is poisonous to humans which can cause hypotension and bradycardia if consumed in sufficient quantities. Also, these plants are very prone to a whole range of pests and diseases (Wikipedia has a whole list of ills for this shrub). So it’s a great flower to look at but not a good one to have.

 

29. Tansy

tansy_flower_by_hitana87-d3q8jnu

Scientific Name: Tanacetum vulgare.

Native to: Europe and Asia.

Desirable Features: Pretty yellow flowers and seen as a natural insecticide as well as good companion plant.

Why you wouldn’t want it: In many areas of the world particularly North America, this is seen as an invasive species known to spread prolifically. Also, it’s a toxic plant in all parts, especially to livestock.

 

30. Cultivated Tobacco

Nicotiana_tabacum_004

Scientific Name: Nicotiana tabacum. Genus has 67 species.

Native to: The Caribbean. Introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus himself, if not then possible hybrid.

Desirable Features: Pretty pink flowers. Can also be used as an insecticide.

Why you wouldn’t want it: This plant doesn’t have a good reputation since it’s responsible for a lot of deaths from all kinds of diseases per year, particularly cancer (that and the 599 other additives in tobacco products). Those who work on tobacco farms and plantations are constantly exposed to nicotine poisoning as well as to a large amount of pesticides and other chemicals. Not to mention, this plant could be prone to a whole host of diseases and pests. Also, cultivating this plant in developing countries has led to significant deforestation and environmental damage.

 

31. Purple Loosestrife

purple_loosestrife_flowers

Scientific Name: Lythrum salicaria.

Native to: Europe, Asia, northwest Africa, and southeastern Australia.

Desirable Features: Pretty purple flowers and seen as a medicinal herb for bowel problems. Well suited for most environments.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a highly invasive plant in New Zealand and North America. Its infestations result in dramatic disruption of water flow in rivers and streams as well as a sharp decline in biodiversity, especially in wetlands. Known for crowding out other native plant species like cattails. So if you live near a swamp, don’t plant this.

 

32. Common Foxglove

digitalis-purpurea-candy-mountain

Scientific Name: Digitalis purpurea. Genus contains 20 species.

Native to: Europe.

Desirable Features: Pretty purple flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Toxic in all parts including the water any cut stalks sit in. Even in its dried state, it can kill. Poisoning is most commonly found in livestock, pets, and children. Sometimes mistaken for the edible comfrey plant and brewed as tea in which the results could be fatal. Symptoms include Stomach pain, nausea, violent vomiting, vertigo, muscular stiffness, fatigue, headache, pulse at first rapid and violent but soon weak and irregular, dilated pupils, dimness of vision, delirium.

 

33. Ox-Eye Daisy

oxeye

Scientific Name: Leucanthemum vulgare.

Native to: Europe and Asia.

Desirable Features: Well, it’s a daisy and appears conventional as such.

Why you wouldn’t want it: It’s a highly invasive species in North America, Australia, and New Zealand known for displacing native plants and modifying existing communities. It’s particularly troublesome in agricultural areas where cows won’t eat it which will enable it to spread and it’s host to several viral diseases that affect crops. In the US it’s prohibited in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Washington, Wyoming, and West Virginia.

 

34. Creeping Buttercup

CreepingButtercup_GrobyPool_10May08

Scientific Name: Ranunculus repens. Genus has 600 species including spearworts, crowfoots, and celandine.

Native to: Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa.

Desirable Features: Pretty yellow flowers.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Though initially seen as an ornamental plant, it’s an invasive species in many parts of the world and is usually spread through transporting hay. Not to mention, it’s toxic in all parts to humans and animals (except when dried in hay) with symptoms including bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering that affect the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. Yet, while grazing animals know to avoid this plant, they will sometimes eat it out of desperation.

 

35. Blessed Milk Thistle

armurariul

Scientific Name: Silybum marianum.

Native to: Southern Europe and Asia.

Desirable Features: Pretty purple flowers and is widely cultivated in Europe, Asia, and South America for several different uses.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it has sharp spikes all over its foliage, which you wouldn’t want to touch on the roadside. Second, it contains the toxin potassium nitrate which is toxic humans and animals, particularly cattle and sheep. Symptoms include oxygen deprivation, which is a terrible way to die. Third, it’s considered an invasive species in Iran, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Fourth, its appearance gives an impression that it more likely belongs in some mad scientist’s garden than yours, considering its freakish display. That or seems like an appropriate corsage for a Klingon wedding.

 

36. Common Water Hyacinth

Eichhornia_crassipes_B

Scientific Name: Eichhornia crassipes.

Native to: The Amazon Basin.

Desirable Features: One of the few Amazon flowers that could survive outside the rainforest (it’s been recently spotted in New York). Could be used for bioenergy and waste water treatment. Also, a very pretty purple flower with a petal resembling a peacock feather.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Since its introduction to the US in 1884, this little beauty has been responsible for all kinds of environmental damage such as choking up rivers, killing fish, and stopping shipping in Louisiana as well as clogging Florida’s waterways. Not only that but it nearly wrecked Florida’s environment and economy. There were many eradication attempts, including one by the US War Department pouring oil over it, yet none prevailed. The US government was so desperate to get rid of this plant that Congress almost passed a bill that would’ve authorized the importation of hippos for this very purpose in 1910. Yes, hippos, but this method wouldn’t have worked either because it’s also considered an invasive species in Africa, particularly Lake Victoria.

 

37. Lily of the Valley

Spring-Flowers-Lily-of-the-Valley

Scientific Name: Convallaria majalis.

Native to: Asia and Europe.

Desirable Features: Pretty white flowers which explains why it’s used a lot in bridal bouquets.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Unless you’re familiar with the later seasons of Breaking Bad (sorry to spoil it), you probably don’t know that this beauty can be very deadly. It’s highly poisonous in all parts including the berries and contains 38 different cardiac glycosides. If ingested even in small amounts, it could cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and a reduced heart rate. For the prospective brides hoping to become black widows someday, this is the perfect flower for you.

 

38. American Pokeweed

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Scientific Name: Phytolacca Americana.

Native to: Eastern North America.

Desirable Features: Well, pretty white flowers and nice dark berries. It’s a good source for songbirds like the Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Mockingbird. Young leaves (those that don’t have red in them) and berries can be eaten but only when properly cooked.

Why you wouldn’t want it: These plants are poisonous though the ripe dark berries are the least toxic; it’s when they’re green you really have to worry about them and whether they’re consumed raw in large quantities. Infants and small children should avoid consuming them at all times. As for the rest of the plant, well, those parts get more poisonous as it matures. And adults have been poisoned (sometimes fatally) by eating improperly prepared leaves and shoots, particularly if the root is harvested with the shoots, and by mistaking the root for an edible tuber. So if you’re served any pokeweed dish at a dinner party, you might not want to eat it. Symptoms upon ingesting may include anemia, altered heart rate and respiration, convulsions and death from respiratory failure. Could also possibly cause mutations (perhaps leading to cancer) and birth defects. Yet, animals would only consume them in desperation or if it’s in contaminated hay. Still, while it shouldn’t be touched with bare hands, the juice is less hazardous than the sap (which can cause dermatitis). Also, they are particularly invasive and a pain to get rid of (burning it won’t help, believe me).

 

39. Scotch Broom

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Scientific Name: Cytisus scoparius.

Native to: Western and central Europe.

Desirable Features: Pretty flowers. Can grow almost anywhere.

Why you wouldn’t want it: Contains a toxin that causes heart palpitations and affects the central nervous system, which is harmful to both humans and livestock. In the American West as well as in New Zealand, Australia, and India, this is a particularly invasive plant known to inhibit reforestation efforts after timber harvests.

 

40. Giant Hogweed

Rbk_dolde

Scientific Name: Heracleum mantegazzianum.

Native to: The Caucasus Region in Central Asia.

Desirable Features: Resembles a giant version of Queen Anne’s Lace like it’s on steroids or some radioactive plant food.

Why you wouldn’t want it: For one, it’s an invasive species spreading like wildfire and drowning the native flora and destroying ecosystems in its wake, especially in wetland areas. Second, it’s a phototoxic plant and public health hazard. Skin contact with its watery sap could produce painful burning blisters that could leave purple and black scars. If in contact with eyes, then blindness. Because of it being up to 8-20ft tall and dangerously poisonous to the touch, don’t think you can get rid of it with your weed whacker or mower. In fact, you can’t so it’s best to call professionals or local authorities who can properly destroy the plant and seeds.